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Mulgrew Miller & Wingspan at Dizzy's Club, Coca-Cola
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Mulgrew Miller & Wingspan at Dizzy's Club, Coca-Cola

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

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Mulgrew Miller & Wingspan
(Mulgrew Miller Website)
Mulgrew Miller, piano
Steve Nelson, vibes
Duane Eubanks, trumpet
Steve Wilson, alto saxophone
Ivan Taylor, bass
Ulysses Owens, drums

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Broadway at 60th Street
(Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website)
Todd Barkan, Artistic Administrator
Scott Thompson, Press

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 15, 2007

Mulgrew Miller is one of the smoothest and most improvisational jazz pianists in the current scene, and tonight’s third set had Miller at his finest, in spite of the late hour and long evening. He was joined for his Wingspan sextet by Steve Nelson on vibes, Duane Eubanks on trumpet, Steve Wilson on alto saxophone, Ivan Taylor on bass, and Ulysses Owens on drums. The set began fast and furious, with Nelson seizing the theme on his vibrant vibes. Miller fused the theme on piano, repeating the rhythm. Soon Wilson and Eubanks added percussive brass enhancements, with Owens finishing the percussion with zeal and syncopation. Miller plays with seamless skill, up-down the keyboard with seasoned sensation. A brass duet continued, sax and trumpet, ending in a frenzied finish.

The entire set seemed to flow like a waterfall of generous music, sometimes exploding with percussive punctuation and other times meandering melodically. The second piece had a gospel sounding introduction with spiritual intonations. Eubanks took his flugelhorn and merged it with Wilson’s sax and Owens’ clavé percussion. Taylor took a bass solo, skipping melodically with energy, while Owens took his brushes. A quiet melody ensued, with the Dizzy’s Club pink/white lights warming the stage. The music seemed endless, progressing like a symphony, blending and expanding. Wilson’s sax followed Nelson’s vivacious vibes. This same piece kept building to a frenzied finale, with Owens showing exceptional versatility, and the full sextet was exuberant.

The next piece was introduced by Miller on piano, with a melodic, upbeat, big band sound. Eubanks and Wilson harmonized on trumpet and sax, with Eubanks taking a soaring solo after a piano riff. The contagious rhythm forces the listener to swing in place. Wilson’s sax went wild, before Taylor took another bass solo, in conversation with Miller on piano. Owens enhanced the mood with soft brushes, while Taylor built on the moody theme. Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” was next, introduced by Nelson on a captivating vibes solo. Bass, brushes, and piano joined in, while the brass took a break. Nelson was featured in an extensive lead, with lush, elegant sound. The final piece of the night had a Samba beat, and Miller took off for Rio. Owens opened up with full cymbals, and both trumpet and sax returned for a brassy Carnivale. There was a hint of Mambo thrown in, fused with straight jazz, and Nelson had one more chance to shine, as his vibes rang with resonance. Owens finished with charismatic clavé, full force.

Check the Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola Website for future dates and artists.

Mulgrew Miller & Wingspan
Photo credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Mulgrew Miller
Photo credit: Frank Stewart/Jazz at Lincoln Center

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at